Charting the slowdown in China, U.S. export growth
Chinese and U.S. export growth
In China, export growth slowed to just 1% in July, which set off alarm bells in markets considering that the country is the workshop for the world. The Chinese authorities don't adjust for price, however, and according to Lombard Street Research, export growth by volumes has been little changed over the last six months. "To a great degree this reflects the sloth of the world economy compounded by China's lack of cost competitiveness after more than two years of unit labor costs rising at nearly 10% per annum in yuan terms -- more in dollars," said Charles Dumas in a note to clients. In the U.S., meanwhile, export growth on a year-on-year basis actually improved in June, though the general trend is one of cooling.
U.S. productivity growth rebounded in the second quarter, though it's still well down from levels in 2009 when companies were aggressively firing workers. More broadly, there hasn't been much in recent years to significantly boost the productivity of American workers.
Job seekers per available job
The job openings data released by the Labor Department, when combined with payrolls data, show that for every available job, there are about 3.4 people seeking those positions. The worst level during the recession was 6.7, but this ratio was below 2 in the good ole pre-bubble days.
One measure of confidence of workers is their willingness to leave a job -- ostensibly for another one or perhaps to create a new business. Quits as a percentage of separations (e.g., leaving for any reason, including being laid off) has moved back under 50%.
Indonesian economic growth in the second quarter continued to hold over 6%, as it has for every quarter since the fourth quarter of 2010. It's one of the reasons why Indonesia was named one of MarketWatch's New Tigers. Read MarketWatch's New Tigers report.